The Oil and Gas industry offers some of the best career opportunities out there: great pay, the opportunity to travel the world (venturing to many regions most travel-hungry people would never even think to go!), and fantastic opportunities for progression. Choosing Oil & Gas as a career is a lifestyle decision, but if you want to make it work you have to get your first role to set you on the path to success. Here are our top tips:
1. Your CV/Resume must be perfect
It sounds obvious, but from working in recruitment I can tell you: lots and lots of professional people submit resumes riddled with typos, badly formatted or in strange colour/font combinations. There are lots of guides out there, but we’ll keep it simple: use a clear font such as Arial or Calibri, size 10-12, with no or very little colour; list your most recent employment first; don’t go back more than 10-15 years (and don’t go into any detail on jobs with no transferable skills); succinctly list your achievements under each job, and try to keep the whole thing to 3 pages absolute maximum – preferably 2 (look at it this way, if you can’t succinctly sell your successes in 2 pages, how sloppy is your work going to be?).
2. Tie your past successes in to the industry
If you have no or little experience, try to prove you do have a passion for the industry. Have you joined a club or class in university/college? Have you worked in a similar position in a related industry – e.g. Mining, Manufacturing? Know about the oil and gas industry, take your time to really learn what the company is about, who’s innovating, who’s working together and what the different roles entail – not just the one you’re hoping to get!
3. Write a tailored email
Don’t bulk send your CV to lots of different companies with Dear Sir/Madam at the top – no one appreciates that (especially if they are copied in with all of their competitors’ email addresses!). Look into the people you’re contacting within procurement/HR and otherwise, find their proper contact details, and write a tailored email to each and every one of them.
4. Understand the issues the Oil & Gas industry is facing right now (or come to think of it, any time).
Many oil companies are renowned for giving tough interview questions – ones in which you’ll have to find a solution to a challenge. Do your research, understand the role, and you’ll be fine.
5. Understand the business you’re applying to
Learn about their values and mission, know who their competitors are and what sets that company apart, and research their past, current and future projects. Then, when you do get an interview, ask intelligent questions about the projects they are working on.
6. Take the initiative
Don’t assume that the company will train you to do the job, if the roles you’re interested in require the likes of a BOSIET, go out and get one. It’s increasingly common for applicants to arrange their own certs and training. Having an understanding of the qualifications you’ll require is the first step, but there is plenty of information available online, and this applies to office-based/commercial positions as well as technical ones.
7. Who you know
Maybe you’ll submit your resume, get an interview, breeze that and get hired… but maybe not! Network like crazy. Go to lunches, conferences, courses, hand out your business card. Get on LinkedIn, join groups, and be active in them. It’s a big industry, but people know people. Pulling a favour down the line could mean the difference between getting the job and not getting it – even just having someone willing to submit your CV personally rather than going through a system will help. Remember that companies receive hundreds of applicants each day – so referrals save time and money.
8. Consider different ways into the industry
If you want to work offshore, consider taking a role at a service company to gain offshore experience. Companies are often reluctant to take on those without any offshore experience due to the obvious pressures of working offshore for long periods – so proving that you are happy to work under these conditions is half the battle!
So there you have it – our top tips. If you’re an experienced professional, have we missed anything? How did you get your first break?